Patients with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) may have a hard time finding a dentist whose team can make their dental visit as accommodating as possible, but at Dr. Marc Lazare’s offices, we ensure our patients have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
With over 900, 000 cases of adults living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) currently, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the adverse effects this condition has on the oral health of those afflicted. Not quite as easy, however, is finding a dentist that can address various oral and dental issues for those living with MS. There are plenty of dentists and specialists that have to compromise a lot so that patients with MS can have a comfortable and pain-free experience during their appointment. Here at our New York City practice, we see and treat patients that suffer from many disabilities, including MS-related individuals. We ensure our team will make your, or your loved ones, experience as good as can be during your appointment with Dr. Marc Lazare.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, degenerative neuromuscular disorder that often results in partial or full paralysis, with no known cure. Remissions, both complete and partial are common. This disorder causes the demyelination (the removal of the fat-like protective sheath that surrounds the nerves and protects them) of the nerves of the central nervous system (CNS). This can result in the following:
- a decrease in the speed of nerve conduction
- partial blocking of the nerve conduction
- modification in the way nerve impulses are transmitted
- a complete failure of transmission for these nerve impulses
Those individuals diagnosed with MS are particularly susceptible to suffering from unnecessary pain and treatments as a result of not recognizing the impact that MS can have on their oral health care. Preventative dental care and procedures can tremendously improve the oral health and lives of people with this debilitating disorder.
Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect One’s Dental Care?
Depending on the severity of MS, special considerations must be considered when seen in the dental office. Individuals with severe MS will need to have shorter dental appointments, often early during the mornings. If longer appointments are required, 5-10 minute breaks should be taken every half-hour. MS Patients ought to be seated at a 45-degree angle to avoid compromising their airway since they often develop respiratory problems due to the muscles that control their breathing are affected by the disease. It may be indicated to use a rubber dam, as long as the patient can breathe well through their nose. It can also be hard to maintain the mouth in an open position for extended periods. For this reason, a mouth prop may be used to help the mouth remain open comfortably.
Patients with MS may also be unable to pinpoint the source of their pain or discomfort, so great care is required to diagnose dental problems before committing to root canal therapy or extractions. Sometimes individuals with MS can develop trigeminal neuralgia on one or both sides. Temporary numbness in the teeth, jaws, and lips have been reported. Multiple Sclerosis may also result in partial or total paralysis of the face, causing dental procedures to become more challenging.
Additional considerations include wheelchair access (if the disease becomes so debilitating) and some form of general anesthesia or sedation (either in the office or in a hospital).
How MS Impacts One’s Oral Health and Care
With MS patients, proper dental hygiene and home care have become much more difficult to maintain, even in routine. Thus, such patients will run a greater risk of developing cavities, periodontal diseases, and infections. Some of these are a direct result of the patient experiencing difficulty in:
- swallowing or ingesting food
- usage of their tongue
- saliva production
Due to loss of muscle control, brushing and flossing can become challenging. Modified brushing and flossing aids are available at pharmacies or even given by your dentist, and caregivers are encouraged to assist with the home care when appropriate.
Additionally, various medications (such as immune-suppressant drugs, corticosteroids, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants) tend to cause xerostomia (or dry mouth), stimulating cavity growth and the development of gum disease. Keeping the mouth hydrated, salivary substitutes (more in-depth here) and fluoride treatments are often recommended.
What To Avoid If You Have Multiple Sclerosis
Patients with severe MS may find it difficult to wear full or partial dentures. With MS, you are more prone to developing xerostomia (dry mouth), thus rendering it more difficult for you to eat, talk, and wear their oral appliances altogether. Muscle spasticity makes wearing theses removable appliances very hard and sometimes dangerous, especially in the more severe Multiple Sclerosis cases. To avoid experiencing these issues, talk to your dentist about dental implants that can anchor and support the denture, minimizing its chance of dislodging.
Multiple Sclerosis and TMJ
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can cause a variety of different symptoms depending on which nerves are attacked. Amongst these are facial pain, which materializes as trigeminal neuralgia (nerve pain between the face and the brain) and TMJ (temporomandibular joint). Though most believe there isn’t a direct link between the two, there are studies that show that MS plays a role in TMJ disorders. We do treat patients that have TMJ, but to make the right determination, one should seek the care of a neurologist who specializes in treating patients with MS.
Why Choose Dr. Lazare?
Dr. Marc Lazare is one of New York’s leading dental professionals, specializing in many treatments, techniques, and facets of dentistry, such as periodontics and biomimetic. Dr. Lazare has given countless lectures and is regarded as a “Dentist to the Stars” because of his extensive celebrity client list.
- B.A. University of Pennsylvania (Major: Natural Sciences)
- D.D.S. New York University College of Dentistry (Class President)
- Intern in General Practice Residency Program, Department of Dentistry North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.
- Chief Resident in General Practice Residency Program, Department of Dentistry North Shore University Hospital
- Present Active Member of the Attending Staff- North Shore University Hospital
- Present Member of the Clinical Faculty- NYU College of Dentistry
- Master in the Academy of General Dentistry – Awarded in 2011
- Serves on the Board for the Academy of Biomimetic Dentistry
- Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry
- Fellow in the International Academy for Dental-Facial Esthetics
- NEW YORK LICENSE #046840 ISSUED1996
Schedule Your Appointment Today
We understand how debilitating this disease is, but your oral and dental well-being shouldn’t compromise or worsen your symptoms. At our practice, Dr. Marc Lazare and his team will work with you to ensure we provide you with quality dental care and prescribe appliances if needed. You can call our New York office at 212-861-2599 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment or to get more information about our services.